AFP, PNP iden­ti­fy­ing Visayas poll hotspots

At least 62 of 555 barangays in Ne­gros Ori­en­tal have been in­cluded in elec­tion watch­list ar­eas in West­ern Visayas, au­thor­i­ties said yes­ter­day.

The Philippine Star - - NATION - – Gil­bert Bay­oran, Miriam De­sacada, Ben Ser­rano, Ray­mund Catindig, Ermida Moradas/ The Free­man

Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent Ed­win Por­tento, Ne­gros Ori­en­tal po­lice di­rec­tor, said these elec­tion hotspots are mostly hin­ter­land barangays where New Peo­ple’s Army rebels have been mon­i­tored.

Por­tento said they de­ployed 140 neo­phyte po­lice per­son­nel in the prov­ince to re­in­force the 2nd Pro­vin­cial Mo­bile Force Com­pany.

Au­thor­i­ties said at least 200 barangays in West­ern Visayas are on the ini­tial list of po­ten­tial hotspots.

In Eastern Visayas, Maj. Gen. Raul Far­na­cio, 8th In­fantry Divi­sion com­man­der, said 80 per­cent of their five bat­tal­ions would be de­ployed in elec­tion hotspots and con­flict ar­eas.

Far­na­cio said they would pri­or­i­tize ar­eas where there are in­tense po­lit­i­cal ri­val­ries, cit­ing Sa­mar, North­ern Sa­mar and Eastern Sa­mar.

“We will not al­low vi­o­lence to hap­pen… We would con­tinue to as­sess and re­view the sit­u­a­tion to guard against pri­vate armed groups… We will see if we have to in­crease the num­ber of troops in these ar­eas,” he said.

Far­na­cio said they also put up check­points in strate­gic ar­eas in Cal­bayog City and other parts of Sa­mar, North­ern Sa­mar and Leyte.

Jose Nick Men­dros, Com­mis­sion on Elec­tions (Com­elec)-West­ern Visayas di­rec­tor, said they are re­view­ing other pos­si­ble ar­eas of con­cern dur­ing the barangay and Sang­gu­ni­ang Ka­bataan elec­tions on May 14.

Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent Edgar Alan Okubo, Cebu po­lice di­rec­tor, said they would rec­om­mend the in­clu­sion in elec­tion watch­list ar­eas of two barangays in Tubu­ran town.

Okubo re­fused to iden­tify the barangays pend­ing val­i­da­tion.

Vil­lage chief nabbed

Mean­while, Wil­liam Martinez, chair­man of Barangay Sta. Maria, Pros­peri­dad, Agu­san del Sur, was ar­rested on Sun­day for vi­o­lat­ing the Com­elec ban on il­le­gal pos­ses­sion of firearms. He re­port­edly yielded a cal­iber .45 pis­tol and am­mu­ni­tion.

Mo­to­rycle rider Moises Pe­cho was ap­pre­hended on Mon­day for pos­ses­sion of an un­li­censed cal­iber .45 pis­tol af­ter he fig­ured in an ac­ci­dent in Sto. Domingo, Ilo­cos Sur.

Pe­cho was taken to a hos­pi­tal for treat­ment af­ter his mo­tor­cy­cle rammed an elec­tric post in Barangay Cabig­bi­gaan.

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